Dubai, jewel in the crown of the United Arab Emirates and one of the most expensive cities in the world, is known for images of luxury and extremes. It's the home of the world's tallest building, the world's biggest and most expensive yacht, the top two most expensive drinks, and a lot of extreme architecture. All sorts of businesses make their homes there, luxury super-cars roam the streets, and money flows like water.
Secrets hide in plain sight, though, with abandoned construction projects and ancient ghost towns in and around the city that tell far different stories. Thousands of abandoned cars that are worth upwards of $1.5 million have been found in parking lots all over Dubai, exotic pets bought by people with more money than sense have been let loose, and hundreds of villas have been left to rot because nobody's purchased them or the owners had to walk away.
Before oil was discovered in the area in 1966 - nobody was making money off it until 1969 - Dubai was the home of major trade due to how close it was to Iraq, and its lovely harbor. The late 1940s saw most of the city's infrastructure development thanks to efforts by then-ruler Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, which included a proper asphalt runway in 1970. He knew exactly what was needed to put Dubai into a position of success, and it paid off once oil money started rolling in. A population boom took place over the course of 7 years that increased the amount of people in Dubai by 300%.
That was the base that modern Dubai was constructed on. Now? There's still money to be made, but the facade of success started to crumble with the 2008 economic downturn. Now, let's take a look at the Dubai, and its surroundings, we don't normally see.
10 Jebel Ali Village
9 Palm Jebel Ali
8 Al Jazirah Al Hamra
7 Building #33 in Al Khail Gate
6 Dubai's Abandoned Building Problem
Dubai news sites frequently report the city's threats to knock down abandoned buildings, with upwards of 250 abandoned villas being threatened with the wrecking ball at once. Abandonment is a major issue in Dubai as people find themselves unable to make use of their investment, or simply not wanting to use what they've purchased. Unlike in many other cities, though, Dubai is actually able to take action and knock down these properties.
5 The Arabian Canal
3 Burj Al Alam
2 The World Islands
1 Queen Elizabeth 2 Ocean Liner
Launched in 1967, the QE2 was the flagship of Cunard Line for 40 years before her retirement, and was purchased by Dubai World in 2008 with plans for her to become a fancy floating hotel. If we've learned anything from the issues with Captain John's Harbor Boat Restaurant in Toronto (once the MS Jadran), it's that upkeep on an old ship needs to be constant and there are really unique challenges that you don't find in a building. If you recognize Cunard Line, it's because they merged with White Star Line, which was the company that owned the Titanic. Anyway. You can probably figure out where this has gone: the QE2 has been sitting in Port Rashid since she was purchased, and with the engines being shut off in 2013, the vessel has been suffering from problems with mold... oh, and the stuff that tends to happen when a ship gets abandoned for multiple years. She's falling apart.
Efforts to save her have kinda sorta begun, with concerned admirers trying to get the word out, but so far it's looking like the QE2 will be going to the scrapyard if she doesn't rot away and sink.
Sources: weburbanist.com, arabianbusiness.com, emirates247.com, gulfnews.com, telegraph.co.uk
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